House raises more questions than answers with probe
In a letter to the Department of Health and Senior Services, a state legislative committee is requesting to review everything from specific dates of correspondence to all applications submitted.
“Having conducted our initial hearings to understand the Department of Health and Senior Services’ process in awarding Missouri’s medical marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensary licenses, there remained too many unanswered questions. Instead of calling more witnesses who could not or would not answer questions or who would provide questionable answers because of their obvious conflict of interest the Committee agreed that a request for documents were required to ask the right questions for future hearings.”
Greenway estimates just the applications alone will account for over 300,000 pages between the initial 2,163 applications and the few other applications for facility types that do not have an application deadline (transportation, seed-to-sale). It has not been determined what the timeframe for review will be for these 9 members, but it is clear the committee plans to continue and meet past the regular legislative session which ends on Friday, May 15. The committee requested the over half million pages of documents be provided before June 1
The committee is comprised of nine state representatives. Chaired by Rep. Robert Ross and vice chaired by Rep. Nick Schroer, the committee includes Republican Reps. Dirk Deaton, J. Eggleston, Dan Houx, Jered Taylor, and Democrat Reps. Peter Merideth, Jon Carpenter, and Maria Chappelle Nadal.
The request points to questions surrounding the hiring of Section Director Lyndall Fraker, the RFPs for consulting and scoring contracts, the creation of state-used market studies by Deloitte and Dr. Joseph Haslag of the University of Missouri, the administrative settlement of two appeals, and the Section’s relationships with industry groups. Overall, the letter requests about 15 different topics they wish to review.
The state auditor’s office went on record with other publications that they had referred whistleblower complaints to law enforcement after review by their public corruption and fraud investigation. The Office said they have received two complaints.
It is unclear if the whistleblower complaints are connected or available to the committee, or even related to the questions the committee is raising.
The committee spells out several date windows of correspondence within the section, including discussion regarding the scoring contract and the scoring contract re-issuing. Several of the windows correspond to developmental times, but several are cut off from the full time of program development deductively in question.
Requests also repeatedly include Adam Crumbliss, the chief director of the DHSS Division of Community and Public Health – a section separate of the medical marijuana program of the Department. Crumbliss previously served as the chief clerk for the Missouri House of Representatives.
Read the request letter below.